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Open commentary on everything impacting the U.S. housing economy. The opinions expressed here represent the author's alone.

Whither thou, credit crunch?

Wear-out isn't just a concept for media and advertising planners; it also describes the public's appetite for things like the word "subprime" and "credit crunch." And after the Fed's bailout of Bear Stearns -- a move that we still think was the right thing to do here at HW -- credit concerns eased somewhat, and investors started to breathe easier. Is the worst behind us? Really?
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Happy, shiny real estate news

Want to pretend the bad news is a figment of media creation? For those who want to keep their heads firmly planted in the sand, at least one broker information source isn't hiding its agenda -- it will only cover good news about the real estate market. The site,, was launched by a company that provides market data for brokers and agents nationwide.
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Can't sell your house? Raffle it off!

Obviously, the mortgage and housing slump isn't something confined just to the United States -- the global effects of losses that started here have contributed to a global housing slowdown, as mortgage lenders have tightened their belts even outside of our borders. Australia, the UK, and Spain; all are seeing some semblance of housing problems, for varying reasons. But leave it to a Spaniard to come up with the most intruiguing idea for getting out from under a mortgage he can't afford: a raffle.
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It's like switching professors, but with real money

News from Friday's Wall Street Journal is providing more of a harsh light on common practices at many rating agencies -- in particular, that agencies often switched out analysts when bond issuers asked. Obviously, given the hot water Moody's finds itself in right now, this is the sort of thing that will tend to put the defenses up: "Wall Street is not switching our analysts," a Moody's spokesman says. "Moody's makes decisions based on the best interest of the rating."
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Sell your house now? Are you nuts?

MarketWatch assistant managing editor Steve Kerch notes that Friday's existing homes report from the NAR is ominous -- and zeroes in on the real story here: inventory. While April is traditionally the month where sellers flood the market, he asks why so many did so now, when the housing market is so clearly in the midst of a historic downturn.
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Sounds like reason to me

An op-ed published by former FDIC chairman William Isaac talks some sense into the current housing and credit crisis; and it's a viewpoint that I think is being swallowed up by bellowing over Congress' need to do something about troubled homeowners and rising foreclosures. On housing, some sanity: At the risk of being politically incorrect, I'm not sure why we are upset about a 20%-off sale in housing.
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Now we KNOW the housing bill is a bad idea

We weren't really sure what to think of the recent housing relief package being pushed through the Senate right now -- it does have bipartisan support, after all -- but now we can firmly say we're against it. Why? That's easy. Because CNBC's Cramer is for it. Has nothing to do with the actual merits of the proposal.
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